Penticton saw 14 fatal overdoses from January to June this year.
The B.C. Coroners Service confirmed the statistics with the Penticton Western News on Aug. 17.
Last year’s total of 26 fatal overdoses was higher than the previous record in 2019 of 22, and the 17 cases seen in 2020.
This time in 2021 there had only been 14 fatal overdoses, with five that occurred between May and June.
The most recent update from the B.C. Coroners also puts the area at a higher per capita rate of fatal overdoses than Vancouver or the Central Okanagan, which includes Kelowna.
Since 2019, the majority of fatal overdoses with 85.7 per cent of cases were found to have fentanyl in their systems.
Another dangerous factor is the detection rate of benzodiazepines has rapidly increased from 15 per cent of samples in July 2020 to 52 per cent of samples in Jan 2022. These additives don’t respond to naloxone which makes life-saving efforts more difficult.
The Interior Health Authority has issued multiple alerts already in 2022 for drugs that have been either contaminated with benzodiazepines or were found to be almost pure fentanyl.
According to the Coroners’ report, so far this year no deaths have been reported at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites across the province.
There are also no signs that prescribed safe supply is contributing to illicit drug deaths.
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